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Alexander von Humboldt und die Erfindung der Natur [The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science]

Biography / MemoirNew

By: Andrea Wulf(Author)

C Bertelsmann Verlag

Hardback | Nov 2016 | #233616 | ISBN-13: 9783570102060
Availability: Usually dispatched within 2-3 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £42.50 $59/€48 approx

About this book

Language: German

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there's a penguin, a giant squid – even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon.

His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy's Own story: Humboldt explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world's highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolívar's revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne's Captain Nemo owned all his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, 'the greatest man since the Deluge'.

Taking us on a fantastic voyage in his footsteps – racing across anthrax-infected Russia or mapping tropical rivers alive with crocodiles – Andrea Wulf shows why his life and ideas remain so important today. Humboldt predicted human-induced climate change as early as 1800, and Alexander von Humboldt und die Erfindung der Natur traces his ideas as they go on to revolutionize and shape science, conservation, nature writing, politics, art and the theory of evolution. He wanted to know and understand everything and his way of thinking was so far ahead of his time that it's only coming into its own now. Alexander von Humboldt really did invent the way we see nature.

Summary in German:
Was hat Alexander von Humboldt, der vor mehr als 150 Jahren starb, mit Klimawandel und Nachhaltigkeit zu tun? Der Naturforscher und Universalgelehrte, nach dem nicht nur unzählige Straßen, Pflanzen und sogar ein »Mare« auf dem Mond benannt sind, hat wie kein anderer Wissenschaftler unser Verständnis von Natur als lebendigem Ganzen, als Kosmos, in dem vom Winzigsten bis zum Größten alles miteinander verbunden ist und dessen untrennbarer Teil wir sind, geprägt. Die Historikerin Andrea Wulf stellt Humboldts Erfindung der Natur, die er radikal neu dachte, ins Zentrum ihrer Erkundungsreise durch sein Leben und Werk. Sie folgt den Spuren des begnadeten Netzwerkers und zeigt, dass unser heutiges Wissen um die Verwundbarkeit der Erde in Humboldts Überzeugungen verwurzelt ist. Ihm heute wieder zu begegnen, mahnt uns, seine Erkenntnisse endlich zum Maßstab unseres Handelns zu machen – um unser aller Überleben willen.


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The Invention of Nature

Originally published in English

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